sweet light, getting the most in post

AndyAndy BicameralNew YorkPosts: 50,151Registered Users Major grins
edited January 14, 2010 in Grad School
i got up very early this morning, and darn it all i felt like shooting ;-) so i drove a bit further downriver (the hudson river) to a spot that's about 25 miles north of manhattan. at the time of shoot, i was a bit disappointed, to say the least, but i had high hopes for "in post."

here's the original (downsized of course) of the first shot i made this morning. this shot was exposed perfectly, the histogram was nicely bell-shaped, and just a bit right of center. time of day: about 6am.

3845282-L.jpg

so, as i rode the train into nyc this morning, i opened photoshop and got to work.

* first, a levels adjustment. layer>new adj layer>levels and then move the right and left sliders to where the histogram is. i slid the middle slider (midtones) a tad to the right to punch up the colors a bit.

* second, a hue saturation adjustment. layer>new adj layer>hue saturation and i increased the saturation of the reds an yellows by 20%.

* third, i added a toning layer. layer>new>new empty layer. i used the eyedropper to sample a color that i thought would be good from the sky (it was a very light orangy/red/yellow something-or-other). then you grab the paintbucket, and fill the empty layer with this color. change the layer blending mode to overlay, and then adjust the opacity slider, in this case i used 17% opacity.

* working in adjustment layers. i can't emphasize enough how important this is. the main benefit is that you can apply a layer mask, and easily undo the effect of the layer on just parts of the image. as an example, on the toning layer, there was too much of the color tone in the water, so i used a layer mask and a fat soft-edged brush at 40% opacity to remove 40% of the toning effect (remember, 40% of the 18%) out of the water.

* i wanted to emphasize the length of the span, so i cropped to 800x400 for this shot. of course, i have all the layers etc saved in a psd for further use later.

* finally, some unsharp mask (100, .4, 0).

the tappan zee bridge. that's nyc and manhattan visible in the distance.
3845284-L.jpg

here are the other two shots i managed to get this morning before i grabbed the next train to nyc. all three shots were taken using my canon rebel.

3845285-L.jpg

3845283-L.jpg

enjoy (getting up early to grab the sweet light) photography :andy

Comments

  • gubbsgubbs Super Moderator Posts: 3,166Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2004
    I'm impressed!
  • cletuscletus Master of Craposition Posts: 1,929Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2004
    Once again Andy, great work! clap.gif

    Thanks for the tips.
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Posts: 15,471Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2004
    Quite remarkable how a shot can be transformed. Nice work, Andy.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • tmlphototmlphoto Looking for sweet light! Posts: 1,444Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2004
    I have been using Photoshop elements, but recently got my hands on an old Photoshop 5.5 version. Is there a simple way to explain how the use the curves feature of Photoshop. I tried dragging the curves around, but I can't seem to get a handle on really how to use them. Any suggestions?
    Thomas :D

    TML Photography
    tmlphoto.com
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 1, 2004
    Andy wrote:
    * working in adjustment layers. i can't emphasize enough how important this is. the main benefit is that you can apply a layer mask, and easily undo the effect of the layer on just parts of the image. as an example, on the toning layer, there was too much of the color tone in the water, so i used a layer mask and a fat soft-edged brush at 40% opacity to remove 40% of the toning effect (remember, 40% of the 18%) out of the water.
    I wish there were an USM adjustment layer. Is there some way to get this effect?
    If not now, when?
  • ginger_55ginger_55 Crazy Creek Babe Posts: 8,416Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 1, 2004
    Totally Blown Away
    I am totally blown away, Andy, by your use of layers.

    I seem to have a block, as I have elements and 4 or 5 books on how to use it, including a lot of emphasis on layers, and I just don't "get" it.

    I printed out your whole post, but I know I would not get there.

    This is elementary, but I don't use the histogram as an indicator, I don't even look at it................. ??? Is there something simple you could say on that.
    I have a block there too. I am not a complete idiot, I think the problem is that I have gotten away with using other things to produce acceptable, even good, images.

    But I could never do what you just showed us. I have a favor or a suggestion.
    Could someone use just one layer, or two, something very simple, to do something.............. Then I could try to copy that effect on something I have, and maybe I would understand it better. Here I fill overwhelmed.

    Great picture, though. I would have thought that it was exactly like that when you took it. Of course, I have trouble believing that movie stars don't really look like that, smile.

    ginger
    After all is said and done, it is the sweet tea.
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Posts: 15,471Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 1, 2004
    rutt wrote:
    I wish there were an USM adjustment layer. Is there some way to get this effect?

    headscratch.gif Hmmm, interesting. On the face of it, that would seem counterintuitive. The unsharp mask needs to work on an actual image. It can't do anything to a blank layer. Like trying top focus a clear piece of glass? You could dupe the image and USM that one, then use Opacity to control how much you ultimately want. ne_nau.gif
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Posts: 15,471Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 1, 2004
    ginger_55 wrote:
    I am totally blown away, Andy, by your use of layers.

    I seem to have a block, as I have elements and 4 or 5 books on how to use it, including a lot of emphasis on layers, and I just don't "get" it.

    I printed out your whole post, but I know I would not get there.

    This is elementary, but I don't use the histogram as an indicator, I don't even look at it................. ??? Is there something simple you could say on that.
    I have a block there too. I am not a complete idiot, I think the problem is that I have gotten away with using other things to produce acceptable, even good, images.

    But I could never do what you just showed us. I have a favor or a suggestion.
    Could someone use just one layer, or two, something very simple, to do something.............. Then I could try to copy that effect on something I have, and maybe I would understand it better. Here I fill overwhelmed.

    Great picture, though. I would have thought that it was exactly like that when you took it. Of course, I have trouble believing that movie stars don't really look like that, smile.

    ginger


    Ginger, sure thing. Once you get the notion of layers, you'll love them.

    Have you ever seen how animations are done? They start with a background drawing - say it's a rabbit hole. Then on a piece of clear plastic they draw Bugs Bunny chewing a carrot. They lay the clear plastic with the drawing of Bugs Bunny over the background. now you see the rabbit hole and Bugs Bunny chewing a carrot. Then they get another piece of clear plastic, and draw Yosemite Sam loading his shotgun. And they lay that on top of the other two drawings. Because the Bugs and Yosemite Sam drawings are on clear plastic, you can see both caracters and also the background drawing.

    That's kind of what layers are in Photoshop. Your background photo is the bottom layer. Then you create a bunch of effects, one per layer, and pile them on top. Your background image is always there, untouched. But it looks different because you're looking at it through all the stuff you've piled on top.

    And you can control how see-through is the plastic you're drawing on (that's the Opacity thing that folks talk about.) And like on the Bugs Bunny drawing where you could erase the carrot he was eating, on each layer of Photoshop you can erase some of your effects, so it doesn't get in the way of the background image. That's what is called a layer Mask. Very, very cool.

    OK, so here's an example. Here's the starting picture - the background. A lovey dovey couple in the park.


    2627144-M.jpg


    Now I lay a clear piece of plastic over them, and I give it a light coating of red ink. So everything looks red. In Photoshop, that's a new Layer with red on it, and I lowered the opacity so that you can see the couple through it.


    3867119-M.jpg

    Now I take my eraser. On the clear plastic layer, I erase all the red ink that's over the couple, and also the metal utility cover. In Photoshop, what I've done is create a Layer Mask between my background layer and my Layer with the red. Using the Mask I erase the red from over the couple and the utility cover. Voila. I did it in a hurry and sloppily, so if you look really closely you might be able to see where I left some red on his pants, or erased some red from the stone background.

    3867267-M.jpg
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Posts: 15,471Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 1, 2004
    So Ginger, I decided to have a little more fun with the picture. Each time adding a new layer of plastic, painting on it, then erasing the bits I didn't want to have the color, here's what I did.

    I put a pink wash over the stonework, a yellow wash over the foreground stone, and I decided the young man had bad taste and I gave him green pants. All rather crude, but using a Layer for each color, and a Layer Mask to erase the color from the areas I didn't want to change.

    Oh, and I'm a bit of beginner at this. So if I can do it, anyone can. nod.gif

    3870269-M.jpg
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Posts: 15,471Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 1, 2004
    Oh, and don't forget to lower your Opacity once you dump the paint into your new layer, or you won't see anything through the color.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • cletuscletus Master of Craposition Posts: 1,929Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 1, 2004
    tmlphoto wrote:
    I have been using Photoshop elements, but recently got my hands on an old Photoshop 5.5 version. Is there a simple way to explain how the use the curves feature of Photoshop. I tried dragging the curves around, but I can't seem to get a handle on really how to use them. Any suggestions?
    Thomas,

    Try a google search on photoshop curves or photoshop curves tutorial. There's a bunch of fairly good info to be had out there. Here are a couple examples:
    Some of the best discussions of curves can be found in books on Photoshop. I would highly recomend Photoshop CS for Digital Photographers or any of the Photoshop Wow books. Even if the book is for a newer version of Photoshop, you'll be able to pick up the basics of things like curves.
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 50,151Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 2, 2004
    cletus got it dead right....excellent sources!

    :andy
  • tmlphototmlphoto Looking for sweet light! Posts: 1,444Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 3, 2004
    Thanks
    Thanks for the advice.
    Thomas :D

    TML Photography
    tmlphoto.com
  • bhoglebhogle Dark Lord of the Grin Posts: 59Registered Users Big grins
    edited June 23, 2009
    this is great!
    Nice, simple tutorial. I especially like the bit about the toning layer. Check out this original:
  • bhoglebhogle Dark Lord of the Grin Posts: 59Registered Users Big grins
    edited June 23, 2009
    I did two levels layers (one for the correctly exposed sky and one for the underexposed cliffs).

    Then, I removed the vignetting.

    Then I followed the +20 yellow/red saturation.

    I used the eyedropper on a random color near the sun, partially masked out the toning layer on the water and beach/cliffs.

    Then I used a little bit (a very little bit) of shadow and highlight adjustment on the cliffs and brightened them up a bit.

    I think I did a lot with the basic image. It was one of the first photos I took with a DSLR about a year ago! Theres something to be said about retaining even poor photos for a day when your processing skills improve.
  • RalphAdamRalphAdam Seeker Posts: 26Registered Users Big grins
    edited June 24, 2009
    usm adjustment layers?
    rutt wrote:
    I wish there were an USM adjustment layer. Is there some way to get this effect?

    similar flexibility:

    (1) make layer a smart object and apply unsharp mask -- as you know, can adjust and redo indefinitely;

    (2) make (1) even more effective by applying usm to a duplicate layer (made into a smart object).

    By the way, I generally use Dan Margulis's easy sharpening technique of converting the file to LAB; duplicating the layers; tuning off the A & B channels (leaving only the L channel "lit"); putting the "eye" in the composite channel; applying usm aggressively to the top layer (there will be no color shift because it is being applied to the L channel only); use Apply Image to apply the Lightness channel from the bottom layer to the top layer in Darken Mode and reduce opacity to around 50% -- I find that sometimes less of an opacity (more sharpening effect) is better, and sometimes more than 50% (less sharpening) is better. This technique, which is very quick and simple, eliminartes those ugly halos while keeping the image looking sharp.
  • KatmitchellKatmitchell Banned User Posts: 1,548Banned Major grins
    edited July 9, 2009
    Excuse if this is a dumb question, but I am just getting comfortable with layers too.

    Is there a difference between a color toning mask and a layer with a PS lens
    filter color applied? I guess what I am saying is that instead of making a new layer
    and then filling that layer with a color, can I just duplicate the background and
    throw a lens filter on it and then add a mask to that new layer?

    I am trying to figure out if there is a difference here. There are so many duplications
    in PS that do similar things it boggles the mind and it can get confusing with
    layers especially..

    I definitely learned a lot just from this thread alone. I had no idea
    that I could use layers for this kind of "target color toning".

    Thanks for the share.

    Kat

  • elizabethelizabeth Big grins Posts: 20Registered Users Big grins
    edited August 16, 2009
    .

    Is there a difference between a color toning mask and a layer with a PS lens
    filter color applied?
    Kat

    Hi. I use PS Elements so am not sure how it works in PS. But for me one of the differences between a color toning layer with a mask and a lens filter color is that with the toning layer you can use the eye dropper (like Andy did) to pick the exact color from your image (or elsewhere) that you want to tone. very flexible.
  • BilsenBilsen Not Like -- the Others Posts: 2,143Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 25, 2009
    rutt wrote:
    I wish there were an USM adjustment layer. Is there some way to get this effect?

    Not exactly but here's a way that mimics the lab mathod of sharpening.

    Duplicate the layer and change the blending mode to luminosity.
    Apply the USM to the Dup layer. Play with the settings to your liking.
    You can then adjust the USM by playing with the opacity of the Dup Layer and/or using eraser to selectively remove it.

    Same idea as an adjustment layer.
    Bilsen (the artist formerly known as John Galt NY)
    Canon 600D; Canon 1D Mk2;
    24-105 f4L IS; 70-200 f4L IS; 50mm 1.4; 28-75 f2.8; 55-250 IS; 580EX & (2) 430EX Flash,
    Model Galleries: http://bilsen.zenfolio.com/
    Everything Else: www.pbase.com/bilsen
  • BilsenBilsen Not Like -- the Others Posts: 2,143Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 25, 2009
    Terrific tutorial Andy. I shoot the Hudson a lot and I'll be using these ideas for those hazy days we see so much.
    Bilsen (the artist formerly known as John Galt NY)
    Canon 600D; Canon 1D Mk2;
    24-105 f4L IS; 70-200 f4L IS; 50mm 1.4; 28-75 f2.8; 55-250 IS; 580EX & (2) 430EX Flash,
    Model Galleries: http://bilsen.zenfolio.com/
    Everything Else: www.pbase.com/bilsen
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 14, 2010
    Andy, thanks for the brilliant little tut!

    A question, there is a strong gradient in the sky of the bridge shot, did you add that, or did it naturally derive from the tones in the original?

    Thanks.

    Neil
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
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